Ford Grand C-MAX

Bigger than a C-MAX, smaller than an S-MAX. How does Ford's new seven-seater shape up? We took to the road to find out

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

With a driving experience that successfully mixes comfort with just enough sportiness, a smooth and punchy diesel engine and a highly flexible and well made cabin, the Grand C-MAX is a decent addition to Ford’s compact family car range. It really is a quality product that deserves to succeed. However, family buyers after seven seats would be advised to look at the larger S-MAX before they take the plunge, which offers even more space for not much more money.

IT’S seven up for the C-MAX. Finally, Ford has answered calls from customers for a seven-seater compact MPV – and Auto Express has driven it.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_narrow","fid":"69292","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image"}}]]

Prices for the Grand C-MAX start from £18,745 – some £2,000 more than the five-seater C-MAX – and for the extra outlay, buyers get a 140mm longer wheelbase, a body that’s 58mm taller, and a host of family friendly features such as sliding rear doors and neat options including a power-operated tailgate.

It comes with the same EcoBoost turbocharged petrol engines and new, uprated turbodiesels, as well as a new front-wheel drive chassis that will underpin the next generation Focus range. So, has Ford beaten Renault’s Scenic and Grand Scenic at their own game?

First things first, while the standard five-seater C-MAX is a very handsome machine, the Grand C-MAX isn’t quite as successful. It still looks smart at the front but the extra height of the roof, the runners for the sliding doors and the extra length of the wheelbase make the car look a little ungainly from some angles.

But families won’t worry too much about that – it’s space and flexibility that really count, so how does the Grand C-MAX measure up? Well, three tall adults will be happy sitting in the middle row of seats and, although knee-room isn’t overly generous, there’s lots of headroom.

The final two seats are best suited to children, while the flexibility of the seats is impressive. The middle bench slides backward and forward and all rows fold flat simply and easily, while Ford’s ‘walk-through’ seating mechanism allows the centre seat to fold underneath the right-hand passenger seat, allowing easy access to the final row.

Designers and engineers have clearly worked hard up front too, though. The dashboard is covered in a classy soft-touch material, the bold centre console is attractive and also easy to use, while the driving position has plenty of adjustment. Factor in handy features such as a reversing camera, Active Park Assist – Ford’s new automatic parking system – and a blind spot indicator and it feels very nearly as upmarket as an Audi or BMW product. All C-MAX models are available with new 1.6-litre turbo EcoBoost petrol engines along with a new 1.6-litre TDCI diesel and a range-topping 2.0-litre TDCI unit. From launch, there’ll be a 136bhp version but from next year the 161bhp unit of our test car will arrive. It’s super smooth and although the Grand C-MAX weighs an extra 110kg over the five-seater car, it’s fast (0-62mph takes 8.6 seconds) and very efficient, returning 55.4mpg and emitting 134g/km of CO2.

Through corners, the Grand C-MAX strikes a fine balance between comfort and driver enjoyment. Its smaller sibling has more sporty suspension settings, but the Grand C-MAX is still lots of fun to drive, its electric power steering offering plenty of feel, while a new torque vectoring system combines well with the front-drive chassis – which gets wider tracks and stiffer suspension mounts – resulting in an agile yet stable experience. The icing on the cake is a supple ride and great high-speed refinement. It all adds to an impressive machine, although with this flagship diesel likely to cost almost £23,000, buyers looking at the top ends of the Grand C-MAX range will be better off turning their attention to the lower rungs of the S-MAX ladder – another excellent seven-seater that’s even more spacious.

Most Popular

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox
Dacia Duster gear lever
News

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox

With more drivers learning in autos and electric cars, the DVSA is looking to update the driving test so people can still drive manuals in future
16 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review
Volkswagen ID.4 GTX
Volkswagen ID.4 SUV

New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review

VW ID.4 EV gets another electric motor and four-wheel drive in hot GTX form
21 Jun 2021
New Mercedes C-Class 2021 review
Mercedes C-Class - front
Mercedes C-Class

New Mercedes C-Class 2021 review

The new Mercedes C-Class compact exec gets S-Class-inspired tech and new suspension to challenge the BMW 3 Series
21 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review
Volkswagen Caddy California MPV - front
Volkswagen Caddy

New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review

It’s a family hauler and weekend camper all rolled into one, but is the Volkswagen Caddy California any good?
21 Jun 2021
New 2021 Peugeot 308 SW estate arrives with more space
Peugeot 308 SW - front
News

New 2021 Peugeot 308 SW estate arrives with more space

The Peugeot 308 SW joins the hatchback in the range and arrives with two plug-in hybrid options
22 Jun 2021
New Dacia Duster facelift launched with fresh styling and more tech
Dacia Duster facelift - front
Dacia Duster

New Dacia Duster facelift launched with fresh styling and more tech

The budget-conscious Dacia Duster has been updated for 2021 with some subtle design tweaks and a new eight-inch infotainment screen
22 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e
Fiat 500 vs Honda e vs MINI Electric
Car group tests

Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e

The new Fiat 500, MINI Electric and Honda e are three retro-inspired electric superminis - but which is best?
19 Jun 2021
‘The 2030 combustion engine ban is just around the corner – and we’re running out of time’
opinion: charging
Opinion

‘The 2030 combustion engine ban is just around the corner – and we’re running out of time’

Andy Palmer sees electric car uptake revving-up in the UK but says targeted investment is needed to prevent a stall…
22 Jun 2021
New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review
Audi Q4 e-tron 2021  front
Audi Q4 e-tron

New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review

We get involved with the new all-electric Audi Q4 e-tron SUV on UK roads for the first time
17 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review
Nissan Qashqai 2021
Nissan Qashqai

New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review

We get behind the wheel of the larger, more comfortable and higher-tech Nissan Qashqai SUV in the UK
16 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
New 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge EV on sale priced from £49,950
Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge - front
Volvo XC40

New 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge EV on sale priced from £49,950

Volvo has revised the electric XC40’s pricing and trim-level structure, with a simplified three-tier system
22 Jun 2021